One of the nation's most intriguing quarterbacks has come off the board in Braden Davis. The Delaware native, who prepped in Florida briefly in 2020 before an ankle injury and move back to the Northeast, narrowed his scholarship offer list of near 30 down to just one. South Carolina just kick-started its class of 2022 all in the same motion Friday night.
Of course the striking element surrounding the conversation of Davis is his frame, standing 6'5, 191 pounds with a big arm and great athleticism to boot. The right arm has plenty of strength in it, too, adding up to an athletic profile easy to covet independent of offensive system at the Power 5 level. Just last weekend at the Elite 11 Philadelphia, Davis ran sub 4.7 seconds in the 40-yard dash with a self-reported 4.13 short shuttle, finishing as the No. 4 athletic tester among the 75-plus athletes in attendance.
At the quarterback position, though, it begins with the throwing ability and when Davis is right, few in the 2022 class are better on any one throw. While the 2020 sample was small, the explosive examples were plentiful for a Lake Minneola team that would reach a state championship game before season's end. His best ball was a one-play highlight just a handful of prospects nationally could attempt, much less complete. Davis was flushed to his right, kept his eyes downfield and let it fly at the last moment between a defender and the sideline. It traveled 40 yards on a rope, seemingly inches over a defender's angle into the target's out-stretched hands.
The Davis highs are tantalizing at the position, even independent of the athletic profile. He specializes in the intermediate game with a drive on the ball that can cut through a strong wind, hold up in the cold and increases the margin for error for the intended receiver to a degree. The ball comes off his arm with a relatively conventional release, though it sometimes the angle drops below three-quarter range when urgency factors into his decision-making. Davis is comfortable on the run, off platform and is willing to take chances down the field.
While the offers were plentiful before making the call Friday night, the game experience has not been. He has yet to start in more than a dozen high school football games to date despite shining bright over the last two offseasons in the camp, combing and 7-on-7 circuit, a sign of the times in quarterback evaluation given his offer list relative to game experience. Production is paramount at the quarterback position and Davis hovers around 50% in the completion percentage department to date, uncommon among elite passing prospects.
Of course there is running ability at play in a big way with Davis' game, too. He has quick feet, some wiggle in the open field and picks up yardage in chunks with a decisive style and long stride. In the right offense, he can potentially be brought along over time to help the physical traits match production the modern passing game demands. It could take time to all come together, but he has the 2021 season at Middletown to continue the climb.
In the evaluation business, the floor versus ceiling debate will likely rage on forever and Davis (to this point) is as polarizing a prospect in the conversation as it gets. Davis' floor comes with less experience than most of the Power 5 commitments in the class of 2022, but his ceiling as both a passer and runner could eventually vault him over droves of passers when all is said and done.
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